DAVY RUSSELL: Gowran Park Saturday

Busy weekend of racing in Ireland with Gowran on Saturday and Navan on Sunday. The big news on Friday is that Presenting Percy hasn’t been declared for the feature Red Mills Chase at Gowran.

Whilst it’s frustrating as a jockey to miss the chance of a ride in a big race, the bottom line is that you have to accept 100% that the trainer and stable know what’s best for the horse.

There’s still a long season ahead and if things change with the weather he’ll have another option in the Bobby Jo at Fairyhouse next week.

The ground in Gowran is yielding to soft and it sounds funny to say but that rides differently in a normal winter to what we have had this year – a dry winter.

It’s been great to see racing get back on the road this week in the UK after the equine flu. I understand why they had to be cautious in the early stages but whether it all turned out to be a storm in a teacup will be for others to decide – I’m no vet! Main thing though is that we are fully back and that cloud has been lifted ahead of Cheltenham.

Great to win the Grand National Trial aboard Dounikos last weekend and since then it’s been a good week with three more winners.

Now for Saturday, as always I’ll be back with a new blog Saturday evening with the latest news on Sunday’s Navan card.



INGENUITY (1.20pm)

He’s run in a couple of hot races since joining Gordon’s (Elliott) yard from Jedd O’Keefe. I’ve ridden him on both his hurdles starts and it was encouraging to see him improve at Punchestown the last day and he should again run his race here. I’ve made the point before though about maiden hurdles being increasingly competitive and there are very few easy opportunities. This is a big field full of likely improvers.

FARCLAS (1.50pm Red Mills Trial Hurdle Grade 3)

This looks a good renewal where I ride last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas (pictured) who drops down in Grade here having run in the Irish Champion behind Apples’s Jade the last day. He’s got plenty of class but also has to give away a lot of weight, so it’s quite a big ask. The problem with a horse of his ability is that there aren’t that many opportunities – so you have to take your chances where you can. His stable companion Coeur Sublime is a talented horse in his own right who missed Leopardstown because of the ground and is now back after a short break following his fall over Christmas. He’s lightly raced and still progressive but it’s always a big ask for four-year-olds in at the deep end against their elders. Forge Meadow won this 12 months ago and has to be respected.

2.30pm (Red Mills Chase)

The race that Presenting Percy misses and it should now pave the way for Monalee to pick up a decent prize for Henry (De Bromhead) and Rachael Blackmore. I would have thought Edwulf would need further and Killultagh Vic isn’t always the soundest of jumpers. That leaves Anibale Fly as the likely danger. He’s a fair horse on his day and will make the favourite work to pick up the prize.

DAWN RAIDER (3.05pm)

Keeps running well but has been heading up the weights as a result – a victim of his own success if you like. Back after a break and a good run when third behind The Mighty Don at Cheltenham’s October meeting. Not only is this a competitive handicap but there’s a wide range of ratings which means my fella has to give away the best part of two stone to plenty of likely dangers lurking at the bottom of the card including Hero’s Welcome.


He showed plenty of sparkle as a bumper horse and won here over hurdles but we have yet to see the same in two starts over the larger obstacles. That said, there was a little more encouragement at Fairyhouse but we’ll need to see him put his best foot forward in a race where Willie Mullins looks to have a strong hand with his four entries.


If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at content@starsportsbet.co.uk and we’ll try and include in the next blog…